The Chain of Love ‘Winners’

Congratulations to the winners of

the Chain of Love Rafflecopter event!

Chain-of-Love-FB-Cover-Covers

 

While I hope everyone feels like a winner having read six great stories from six amazing authors, I would like to announce our ‘official’ winners of the Rafflecopter event.

Nina Jerome won the Kindlefire – and copies of all of the Chain of Love books included.

David Craft won copies of all the ebooks.

I hope everyone had fun with the Chain of Love Facebook event, playing our games, finding Cameron for the Rafflecopter, and of course, reading the books. We all had so much fun writing these stories and spending time with readers and friends.

If you enjoyed the various stories I hope you will follow the various authors and check out their other books as well. In hopes you enjoyed A Chance Event, here is a link for you to join my mailing list and receive two (yes 2) free ebooks when you do: updates and special offers from Sandra.

Thank you, from myself and all of the Chain of Love authors for playing and reading. Without our readers we would have to look long and hard for inspiration.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Sandra

Fun with Research for Next Release

IMG_1099Saddle up for some Fun with Research on my Next Release!

If you’ve heard me talk about research in the past, you know I consider it a necessary evil for writing.

The problem started in high school. Yeah, I know, you don’t want to go there. Neither do I, but that’s where it started. Remember those dreaded research/term papers? You had to make outlines, notecards, quote
s, bibliographies, works cited pages and the list goes on. The two worst parts for me were the outlines (I still get nauseous thinking about outlining) and research for the notecards. I honestly didn’t mind reading the books for information, but having to make note cards to PROVE that I did was really annoying. It wasn’t so much I had to prove I did the research as the fact that I wasn’t going to use those cards to write the paper. Once I handed them in for the ‘pre-work’ grade, I doubt I looked at them again.

HOWEVER, over the past few years I’ve come to realize I can have fun with research. Hallelujah!

Nowadays my research is much more hands on. I wrote another post about this subject almost two years ago as a guest on Jessica Aspen’s Blog. I wanted to give you an update on my latest research experience – Guest Ranches.

My current WIP (work in progress) will be the first of the new Masters Men series, Master Security. It features Chance Dugan who was introduced in Her Master Match, and Marley Jasper, owner of the Jasper Ranch. (If you need to brush up on the Masters Men, feel free to click here for information on the first Masters Men Series.) I figured if I was going to feature a guest ranch in my book, I should probably know what running one entailed. Cue research.

Okay, so I had to do a little, very little, searching on Google to get started. It didn’t take many keystrokes to find a place to contact. I sent an email to the General Manager of C Lazy U Ranch. It wasn’t long before he responded and we arranged for a call. I sent him some questions ahead of time. His answers weMain Lodge at C Lazy U Ranchre very helpful, but he suggested I really needed to see things for myself and invited me to visit. My niece went with me so when I ran out of questions or forgot to take pictures she could pick up the slack.

So, we went to the ranch and it was amazing. The C Lazy U is a premier guest ranch in the U.S. located in Granby, Colorado. Our cabin was unbelievably comfortable and had fireplaces in both rooms. We went ho
rseback riding and snowshoeing. We joined others in the community area of the main building for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. All the meals were good, but the dinner was definitely outstanding. All of the employees were friendly and welcoming. There must be a requirement that the cowboys are good looking, because they would all look great on a book cover. Also, the female wrangler (that’s her in the picture at the top of the post) who led our trail ride grew up on a dairy farm. If you remember ChancRiding at the C Lazy U Ranche from his cameo appearance in Her Master Match, he grew up on a dairy farm, too. So, now I have a contact to find out more about how a small dairy farm works. Bonus!

The only issue was the C Lazy U is so much more than my heroine could handle as a family guest ranch. It turned out, that wasn’t a problem either, because David Craig, C Lazy U’s General Manager, also arranged for us to visit a nearby family-owned and run guest ranch, the Drowsy Water Ranch. C Lazy U is huge and open year round while Drowsy Water is open from June through mid-September. That is much more likely what my heroine would be able to deal with as a family-owned guest ranch. Even though Drowsy Water wasn’t open right now, Justin Fosha, one of the owners gave us a tour through the knee high snow as well as giving us a better feel of what a family-owned and run guest ranch would entail.

So, if you want to see what all this FUN RESEARCH results in late this spring, you’ll keep an eye out for the first installment of the Master Security series. While I don’t have a final title yet, the working title is WRANGLING DUGAN. If you’d like a little teaser, keep reading. If you like that title, or have a suggestion for a different one, leave a comment.

Chance waited in silence for Marley to continue.

“Early this morning someone broke into the main house.”

The pencil he’d been tapping snapped in two. He stared at her. “The main house as in the one you and your parents live in?”

She shrugged. “It’s just me. My parents moved to Arizona when dad sold the ranch to me. I guess Colorado wasn’t dry enough for them.”

Chance ignored her attempt to break the sudden tension. “They actually got inside? Your security system didn’t go off?”

“Oh, it went off. As soon as they stepped one foot in the kitchen, I pulled the trigger on my father’s old shotgun.”

“You shot them?” He knew his eyes were wide as saucers, but he hadn’t expected that.

“Maybe, I’m not sure if any of the buckshot hit him or not. I aimed at the door’s frame. It’s a ranch. Shotguns are the security system.”

He rubbed his temple again while he tried to come to terms with the image of her facing off with a would-be attacker in her kitchen with a shotgun.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!

Don’t forget to check out Sandra’s most recent release, A Chance Event – A Chain of Love novella.

Christmas Countdown Post by SMJ

Christmas Countdown, Behind, But Still Trying!

I know, I’m lagging behind again. Sandra’s been writing like crazy and won’t let me near the keyboard! She also isn’t done with her holiday baking or shopping. That’s the only reason I don’t feel TOO bad. Actually, she just pulled four mini loaves of Cranberry Orange bread from the oven. I might have to see if I can sneak a piece after I finish this. With my luck, Lil Sock will beat me to it, though. That kid has a terrible sweet tooth. It doesn’t hurt that he lives with Sandra, too. Sock Mittens & Shovel

Anyway, I just wanted to give you a peek at the outside here. We got a little more snow last night. Here’s a pic of my buddies, the Mitten Sock twins. They just finished helping Sandra shovel the driveway and sidewalk. They don’t get out much except in winter. Sandra loves how they keep her hands toasty warm in the winter though. They’re her favorites on cold days that she has to go outside.

HeBirdhouse & sidewalkre’s a shot of the sidewalk and step to the front door. I think they did a pretty good job, how about you?

They worked extra hard because they wanted it to be safe for the mailman/woman, or any other folks who might be delivering packages. Those folks all work so hard. They shouldn’t have to trudge through snowy and slippery sidewalks. Sock Munkees salute all the U. S. Postal Service men and women for the extra hours and friendly greetings they share during this super busy time. Hats off to UPS, FedEx, and all the other delivery service personnel who try so hard to get everyone’s packages to them before Christmas. I added some links to these folks so you can check holiday dates and deliveries.

For now, Sandra’s clammering to get back to work. She’s almost done with the Valentine’s Day novella. Yeah! Anyway, here are a couple of more pictures of our snowy day here in Colorado. It’s not so much cloudy today (though it looks like it) as still foggy. If you don’t have any snow, you can use these pics to make it feel more like Christmastime for you.

Catch ya later!   SMJ

Hidden moutains

This is to let you see how the mountains have disappeared in the fog. Sorry about the screen being in there, but it didn’t really matter. The Rocky Mountains can’t be found. LOLSMJ

backyard snow

The view from our backyard toward the big field out back. This one is to show you how foggy it is. Those tracks in the snow are from Rudy playing.

front porch shot

Here’s our front patio. Since we don’t use it in the winter, we don’t shovel it. The foot prints are from fixing the fireplace vent. 🙂

 

 

 

SMJ’s Christmas Countdown Continues

Apologies, Apologies for missing so many days of the Christmas Countdown!

SockwithM&M

I really have to apologize. There is no excuse for my lack of posting the past few days except…no, there’s no excuse. Can I make it up to you by giving you some M&M’s? I don’t mind sharing even though M&M Peanuts are my favorite.

You’re probably thinking, what’s he doing with M&M Peanuts. Didn’t he just recently make chocolate chip cookies?

I know, but I needed a change from cookies. Besides, I know I’ll be making more cookies over at Sandra’s someday soon. She likes to bake up a bunch of different kinds of cookies. I can’t wait to find out what we’ll make this year. One cookie she makes that I really like looks like a candy cane. They’re fun to make and eat. If she makes them, I’ll try to remember to post a picture. I’ll also see if she’ll share the recipe with you, though I can’t promise. You know how people can be about ‘secret’ recipes.

So, while there are other things to tell you about, I thought I would show you what I was doing yesterday when I should have been posting. See, it was a SNOW DAY for most of the schools in the area. You know what that means, right? We hChristmasTreead a bunch of snow! I mean a bunch! Oh, first, let me show you how snowy and cold it was with a picture Sandra sent me. I know, I know, it’s another Christmas tree picture, but look out the window behind the tree. That’s not just snow on the window, that’s how hard it was snowing outside. The little dog at the bottom of the picture is Rudy, Sandra’s dog. Here’s a fun piece of trivia. Rudy is a rescue from Japan. Yep, you read that right, Japan. Before you ask, no, he doesn’t bark in Japanese, silly.

As you can see from that picture it was pretty crazy weather. We had to wait until the afternoon to go outside and play because it was too windy. When it stopped snowing and the wind eased up a little bit, some of my Sock
Munkee family here at Mom’s house and I went outside to play in the snow.

IMG_20151215_052233Yes, yes, that is a reindeer Sock Munkee, but it isn’t the one from the last post. I’m still hoping Mom might bring him home for Christmas. Although, as long as he finds a good home, I’ll be happy and I know Santa will make sure he does.

This is only part of the crew. They pushed past the rest of us and ran out the door. Then they all jumped in the snow and started singing. Silly, silly, monkeys.IMG_20151215_052159

Over to the right, you can see a couple more of the family. See the one with the orange sweatshirt? He never takes that thing off. He’s such a Syracuse fan. He watches or listens to all the games. When they don’t win or at least play well, he is not fun to be around. He pouts and grumbles for hours. Now that I think about it, he acts kind of like Sandra does when her Yankees don’t do well. Sheesh, sports fans are a little crazy.

FIMG_20151215_052447or now, here’s one more picture of all of them after we came in from playing.
I’m not in the picture, because I took it . I’m getting to be pretty good with the camera. Don’t you think so? It’s a pretty good family pic, but there’s still more family. I’ll have to remember to get Mom or Casey to take one of all of us for Christmas so you can see everyone.

I promise to try and do more catching up tomorrow. What did you do on your last snow day?

Later!

SMJ

SMJ’s Christmas Countdown #10

Christmas Tree Viewing with New and Old Friends.

Welcome back everybody! I think this will be the last time for a Christmas tree post. Well, unless I see one that I just can’t resist showing you. If that happens I’ll sneak it into a post somewhere. Teehee. Hmmm, that reminds me. I haven’t posted Sandra’s decorated Christmas tree yet. Look for it in a future post.

Let’s start tIMG_20151209_075649his adventure through Christmas trees with an introduction to a new Sock Monkey, Reindeer Sock. I can’t remember ever seeing a monkey with antlers before, but I try not to judge by looks. Besides, he is pretty cute. He’s also generous. See the sticker on the floor next to him? It says Sock Monkey Peppermint Candy Canes. Really, they were labeled as HIS candy canes, so there was no doubt who they belonged to. However, he shared them with anyone who came by him. What a guy! I LOVE candy canes. If we hang them on the tree at my house they don’t last long because I keep climbing up the tree and eating them. I know, it’s naughty, but I just like them so much! Mom just shakes her head and reminds me I still have to eat dinner. Anyway, back to Reindeer Sock. I really wanted to bring him home with us, but mom said no. I didn’t gripe or whine, though. It is only a couple weeks until Christmas. I don’t want anymore naughty marks on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list. I did glance up at her soon after we walked away from him and she had this silly little smile on her face. That usually means she has a surprise planned. I wonder if she already arranged for Reindeer Sock to live with us after Christmas. I hope so. If not us, I hope someone gives him a great home because he’s such a sweet kid.IMG_16691559204088

The next friend I wanted to introduce you to is hidden inside this shiny tree. Can you see him? Look right in the middle and you’ll see two little eyes and a pink nose. That’s Pooh, Casey’s kittie. When I saw this picture I imagined I was in a safari with lions and tigers hiding everywhere. Then I remembered there aren’t any white, frilly, trees in the jungle and they definitely wouldn’t have pink and blue lights on them. Whatever Pooh was thinking, he looked a little silly with all the white branches and sparkling lights around his little face. He’s usually not this daring. On the other hand, his brother Tigger? He’s another story.

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You met Tigger before. He was in the black and white picture I had in a previous post. His eyes were glowing just like the tree lights in that picture. Here I think he’s trying to help decorate. Granted, it’s more likely he was trying to knock it over or grab something off of it to play with. Tigger is one of those kitties who looks for trouble. He really doesn’t have to look hard. It usually finds him.

I shouldn’t pick on him too much. He’s a Cool Cat. Like how I did that, made him sound like he’s the Cat’s Meow. Oh, someone stop me!

“Thanks, Tigger.” He gave me a little swat with his paw (no claws, he wouldn’t do that) to snap me out of silly line phase I’d fallen into. See, I can always count on Tigger to help out.

Next up in the Christmas tree tour today is Casey’s tree. This one is reminiscent of CharlieIMG_20141201_101205 Brown’s tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The show came out in 1965 and it’s still a favorite of people everywhere. Just so those of you living out here in Colorado’s time zone don’t miss it, here’s a link to all the best Christmas movies and where/when to watch them. I don’t think A Charlie Brown Christmas will be on again until Christmas Eve. Although, you can see his tree right here. Or, Casey’s version of his tree. She puts it up every year. I think she feels sorry for all the passed over trees left in Christmas Tree lots. This is her way of telling them someone loves them no matter how many needles they’ve lost. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, showing love to the world? That’s what I believe.

What do you think is the true meaning of Christmas. I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment and I promise I’ll read it and comment back. Connecting, that’s another great part of Christmas!

More later!

SMJ

#8 of SMJ’s Christmas Countdown

Christmas Cookies Can’t be Beat!

SMJ in tree

 

Hi everybody! SMJ here, hanging around in a tree. Can you see that blue sky through the branches? How about the green grass with just a touch of snow on the ground? Well, that’s Colorado for you. One day we’re freezing and the next we’re out in our shirt-sleeves. I love it! It gives me the chance to get outside and climb trees or just run around without getting so cold I turn blue. Just in case you didn’t know, blue isn’t a much better color for Sock Munkees than green.

Okay, I guess it’s time to go back inside and get to work. I know I’m still two entries behind, but I promise, I will make them up eventually. I just know how much you enjoy having pictures with the posts and sometimes the internet doesn’t cooperate with getting the pictures where they need to be. So, onward!

Today’s main focus is cookies. Christmas cookies! Well, maybe not Christmas cookies technically. I mean, we didn’t decorate them or make cutouts. I guess I’ll have to get Sandra on that. She’s the residenSock Munkee baking cookiest ‘Betty Crocker’ in this business. However, Casey and I baked some chocolate chip cookies. Yum! One of my favorites. Here’s a link to a bunch of cookie recipes you can try.

Her you can see how I carefully placed the cookies on parchment paper so they wouldn’t stick or burn. They’re perfect, right? You will also note that I used a pot holder to get the tray out of the oven. I didn’t want to get burned. Just the burst of heat when we opened the oven door was hot enough for me. Safety first!

This might be a short post, but I did want to offer you a cookie. Sorry, I got hungry waiting for you and took a bite, but it’s just a little bite. I hope you think they’re as yummy as I do.

SMJ sharing cookies

Sandra needs to go run some errands so this is goodbye for now. Don’t forget to leave a comment answering this question. What’s your favorite cookie of the season? Inquiring monkeys want to know!

Signing off,

SMJ